|7/30/21 Washington Park Arboretum|
Just as we did for our first class, Kristin Frost’s last class in drawing trees with graphite met at the Washington Park Arboretum. For her demo, she asked if we had any specific requests, so I suggested the magical effect of light filtering through leaves. That kind of view would be difficult enough in color but would be even more challenging in monochrome. That sunny afternoon, the arboretum was full of examples everywhere, so it was easy for Kristin to pick any spot to draw. She focused immediately on establishing three main values before the light changed. Once these are put into a drawing quickly, we can take our time with subtler value changes in between the three to refine the drawing.
|Capturing the lovely light coming through the leaves behind |
the foreground tree was my interest in this view.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of finishing the easy parts first (like the foreground tree and the background light). By the time I got around to the much more challenging mid-range foliage (where all the filtered light was), I was running out of steam. (It was a hot afternoon last Friday – the temperature was near 90 by then – but tolerable in the deep shade of the arboretum’s many huge, old trees.) Just as when I’m urban sketching, once I leave the site, I can’t continue working on a sketch, even if I have a good photograph or memory to help. I lose my steam for the sketch, or maybe it’s more like I lose my heart for it. I probably won’t continue working on this one.
Regardless, I learned plenty from Kristin’s very enjoyable and inspiring class. I especially got much-needed practice in differentiating the foreground from the background and making compositional sense of a vast chaos of foliage. Although Kathleen Moore’s Zoom class in drawing trees was enormously informative in understanding tree anatomy and structure so that trees we draw look realistic, working from photos was limiting. Photos have already done the job of cropping and flattening the view to a manageable, 2-D rectangle. I needed being out in the seemingly endless field with the light changing every minute to push my drawing skills to a new level. I feel like I have more confidence now to tackle all kinds of trees and foliage from life.